Goal Setting Secrets of The World’s Top Freight Brokers

Goal setting may be one of those things that you don’t think is super important as a freight broker. But, the most successful freight brokers out there could tell you exactly where they stand in relation to their goals. Why is goal setting done by the world’s most successful freight brokers? We’ll explain.


When Happy Gilmore set out to get his grandma’s house back, he didn’t whine. He set goals and figured out how many tournaments he had to play in to get the money. His goals were smart, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. You might be laughing right now and that’s ok. But if you don’t take goal setting seriously in your freight broker life, the only one who is going to be laughing at you is the other freight brokers who are now getting paid to move your freight.

Commit to professional AND personal goals.

The 7am-5pm life of a freight broker can really wear on you. It’s an early start, no doubt. And if you’re going to commit to setting goals in your professional, 10 hour day, you’re going to want to insure you maintain some balance in your life. So, don’t just set goals for your freight broker business, then roll out at 5:01pm and head home to watch King of Queens reruns all night. No! Balance your life with some personal goals.

Do you want to learn a new language? Is there a skill you can gain that could potentially be beneficial in the long term? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you just want to be in better physical shape? There are a truckload of options for you (sorry) that will not only help you have better work life balance, but in the instance of focusing on fitness, you may even find that your mental clarity and decision making abilities improve.

Understand what SMART Goals are and use them as a freight broker.

What are SMART goals? “Move more freight” doesn’t count. There not just good ones. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

Specific – So you want to move more freight? From which existing customers? from which new customers? Push yourself to be more specific about what you want to achieve.

Measurable – Let’s say you want to move 20 additional loads per day from 4 additional customers in the next 6 months. How many sales appointments will you need to attain that figure? Back things out from your goal to be both specific and measurable. For example: closing four new customers may take 12 sales appointments, which may require 100 new leads, which may require 1,000 new website visits. When you think about measuring goals, take time to think through the entire process to achieve this.

Attainable – Is it possible to move 100 loads with average margins of 50%? Probably not. But don’t be afraid to stretch a bit when it comes to what you think you can realistically attain. You want your goals to be attainable, but you also want to push past what you think will be comfortably attainable for you. Why?

Realistic – Can you realistically add 4 customers in the next 6 months? Do you have the customer acquisition infrastructure so support the workload necessary to hit the example figures listed above? Making goals specific and measurable is great, but if they’re not realistic, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice.

Time-Bound – Last but most important, make sure you assign a time frame to whichever goals you want to attain. Consider starting with quarterly goals. This is a short enough time to where you can evaluate your progress but also long enough to obtain some actionable insights into what you are doing right and doing wrong.

Bring your team on board and solicit their input.

You can spend all your time thinking of goals for yourself, but, this is a great opportunity to bring in your team and work on goals together. Consider goal setting as a team-building exercise. Perhaps you want to combine goal setting with a team outing or happy hour. But, use goal setting as a chance to get your entire team on the same page in regards to the key performance indicators you want to hit.

When your entire team feels invested in the end destination, you are setting your freight brokerage up for success. Having everyone moving towards a common goal is one of the best decisions you can make as a leader in your freight brokerage. Transparency is increasingly becoming valued in today’s modern workplace. Uniting your team behind a common goal is one of the easiest, and most effective ways to create a culture of transparency and trust.

Post them somewhere where they’ll be in your face.

When you do invest valuable time into creating goals for you and your team, don’t just burry them in a google doc or desk drawer. Put them in a place where they cannot be avoided! If you’re using a freight broker software, make sure the entire team is able to see the metrics that you’re tracking towards success.

Consider using an old computer monitor as a defacto scoreboard. Set up a dashboard with your metrics and have them displayed in the office in a common area. Having live-updated metrics will help reinforce their importance, demonstrate a commitment to transparency and unify the team around a common goal.

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Start a freight brokerage business: How to use the 80/20 rule to grow

Ready to start a freight brokerage business? Your application of the 80/20 rule could make or break you. What do we mean? Before diving in head first, you’re going to want to spend some time first thinking about all the things that you do.

Focus your efforts to start a freight brokerage business.

When you’re just starting out, you’re never going to feel like you got everything done that you wanted to. You’re going to feel like you’re spread thin. Getting things going is going to pull you in a lot of different directions. When you want to start a freight brokerage business though, you will want to pay close attention to how you are allocating your time. You will have a million ideas and a million and one suggestions from outside advisors. But spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster.

How should you approach what you spend your day-to-day time on? Understand the 80/20 rule.

Why you should observe the 80/20 rule when you start a freight brokerage business?

Also known as The Pareto principle, the rule states that:

“For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”


Basically, 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. Or, 80% of what you achieve will come from 20% of what you focus your time on.

So how are you supposed to take this and apply it to how you manage your day-to-day activities? This is where self-examination will come in handy.

Your mission over the next 30 days should be to figure out which 20% of your time produces 80% of your business’ results. This way, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on the non-revenue-generating activities that secretly suck the life and profit out of your burgeoning freight brokerage business.

Source: forbes.com

Break out your work into categories when you start a freight brokerage business.

What are categories? Let’s define some.

Administrative: These are necessary to-do’s like paperwork related to keeping your LLC in working order, human resources documentation. Maybe you’re setting up your Zenefits account to handle all HR matters. Maybe you spent the morning managing your payroll system.

Sales and Business Development: This is time you spend calling, researching or visiting current or potential customers. Do we need to elaborate here?

Operations: This is time you spend managing your freight. From establishing the process for getting loads into your system, to carrier on-boarding, to what happens when there’s a late delivery. Systemizing everything you do in your organization falls under the category of operations management.

Marketing: Did you spend two hours updating your website recently? Did you spend three hours trying to design a sell sheet in powerpoint? Did you send out some tweets and make some connections with shippers on LinkedIn? Put this time spent in marketing.

Using these buckets, estimate the amount of time you’ve spent on each in the past month. Or, pay careful attention to how you spent your time over the course of the next month. How is where you have spent your time over the past couple of weeks impacting revenue or profitability? What activities can you say have not contributed to your ability to increase revenue, decrease costs or both? When you want to start a freight brokerage, everything you do should be evaluated under this lens.


20% of your customers will end up generating 80% of your profits.

When you start a freight brokerage business, be prepared: 80% of your profits are going to come from 20% of your customers. It’s better to think this will come true than to deny a principle that has been observed and embraced for hundreds of years.

Try applying the R-M-F rule. This involves looking into your customer lists to figure out who has bought most recently, who has bought most frequently and who has spent the most money. Honing in on this group should give you a basis for what types of businesses can comprise your 20%. It’s this group who you will want to prioritize your time around, and prioritize your time and targeting more customers who look just like them.

Source: entrepreneur.com

Understand your customer niches when you start a freight brokerage business.

Beyond figuring out who has bought most recently, frequently and spent the most money, spend some time understanding other characteristics that can allow you to put customers into buckets. What industry do they operate in? Is there heavy seasonality for some? Where are they geographically located? Do they require special, harder-to-come-by equipment? Do they ship a lot of LTL freight? All of these variables can help you understand the customers you want to focus on and those who you should actually fire.